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Twitter takes US government to court over surveillance data

Twitter has filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for blocking it from releasing more information about government surveillance of its users.

The company said in a statement published in the official Twitter blog that this violates the right to free speech, as defined by the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

Twitter brought the action in a northern California court on Tuesday, requesting relief from prohibitions on its speech and allowing it to publish its full transparency report documenting government requests for user information.

"It's our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users' concerns and to the statements of US government officials by providing information about the scope of US government surveillance," Twitter's lawyer, Ben Lee, wrote in a blog post.

The latest report released in July does not include the actual number of national security requests as Twitter and other Internet companies have been banned from disclosing that information, even if no requests were received.

Over 60 US corporations, including Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google, have earlier requested the US government to ensure maximum transparency of requests from state agencies, interested in closed information about the users of services.

[Source: Itar Tass, Los Angeles, 08Oct14]

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Privacy and counterintelligence
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